Juan Antonio Pizzi is confident his Chile side can beat Argentina and the “most important player in history” Lionel Messi in the Copa America Centenario final.
The 48-year-old took over as coach of the reigning South American champions in January and has inspired an impressive defence of their title in the United States.
However, Chile must now defeat Messi’s Argentina at the MetLife Stadium on Sunday night to retain their crown.
The Barcelona star broke Gabriel Batistuta’s all-time goalscoring record for Argentina in the semi-final defeat of USA with his 55th international strike, but Pizzi is optimistic despite the scale of the task ahead of his men.
“I believe we’re going up against the most important player in history,” said the Argentine-born coach.
“It is unlikely that we will see someone break his records, but even so, we believe we can beat [Argentina].”
Argentina were 2-1 winners when the nations met in the group stage, but this is also a repeat of the 2015 Copa final, and Pizzi acknowledged the enormity of the clash.
“It’s the biggest game of my career,” the Chile boss added.
“I’m enjoying it with the squad. We arrived in good shape, very confident we can win. We are very well prepared for the game.”
Pizzi’s side have been in fine form so far in the competition, with their standout result the 7-0 demolition of Mexico in the quarter-finals.
Midfielder Marcelo Diaz, who missed the semi-final win over Colombia through an injury, ranked this Chile team as their greatest ever.
“Throughout our history, this is the only team that could be compared to teams like Argentina, Germany or Spain,” he said.